6A46.10 - Rainbow - Water

Code Number:
6A46.10
Demo Title:
Rainbow - Water
Condition:
Good
Principle:
Dispersion of Light & Electromagnetic Radiation
Area of Study:
Electricity & Magnetism
Equipment:
Beaker with Mirror Backing, 35 mm Slide Projector, Slit Slide, Overhead Projector, Clear Glass or Plastic Cup, Water, and Mask with 4 Inch Hole.
Procedure:

Place the slit slide into the 35 mm projector and direct the light towards one end of the beaker filled with water.  Once focused correctly a fair rainbow should be produced.  The reds and oranges will be really apparent but the blues and greens are only produced if the apparatus is in proper alignment.  NOTE: The intensity of the spectrum can be greatly increased by attaching some type of mirror backing to the back side of the beaker.

A circular rainbow can be produced on the overhead projector.  Place the mask with 4 inch hole on the projector.  Then place the clear glass cup in the hole and fill to about 1/8 inch from the top with water.  Use a piece of cardboard to block the exit beam from the lens system.  When the overhead is turned on a circular rainbow should appear on the ceiling.

A rainbow from a drop can be simulated by filling a round flask with water.  Place a large cardboard mask with a hole in the center in the middle of the table.  Place the flask at the same height as the hole and on one side of the mask.  Place the filmstrip projector on the other side of the mask, pointing through the hole and at the flask.  Turn on the projector, and the rainbow should appear on the same side of the mask as the raindrop.  A secondary bow can be seen if you look closely.

An interesting outdoor activity would be to take a Polaroid filter and look at a rainbow.  The rainbow will be quite bright in one orientation, but will have a reduced intensity when rotated.  This polarization is due to the way light is reflected at the back of each raindrop.

References:
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Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.